One of the great misunderstandings in the Christian walk is that you must confess each and every sin in order to be forgiven by God. Nothing could be further from the truth, as God knows everything in your heart and in your mind and, frankly, most of us do not have enough time to enumerate all our individual and collective sins.
2 Corinthians 7:10 – For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
According to Strong’s, repentance from the Greek actually means:
g3341. metanoia; from 3340; (subjectively) compunction (for guilt, including reformation); by implication, reversal (of (another’s) decision): — repentance. AV (24)- repentance 24; a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done
Did you catch that? Repentance actually means a change of mind! It is not confessing sins. And, if you’re conscious of your righteousness, you come to the realization that you don’t have to be conscious of sin.
True repentance is a Kingdom principle and is only possible through the revelation of relationship with the Father through the person of Jesus Christ.
People often confuse remorse with repentance but they are mutually exclusive activities. For example, a man who physically abuses his wife may be remorseful for his actions, but without a change of mind, he’s likely to do it again! A woman can change her mind about being unfaithful to her husband but without remorse, her mind is unlikely to remain changed.
It is reported the financial con-artist, Bernard Madoff, expressed remorse for his actions. However, he has expressed no sympathy for his victims and has offered no restitutions. Therefore, we must conclude that his remorse gives no indication of repentance.
In a similar circumstance, Michael Milken (also known as the “junk-bond king”) was tried and convicted for misleading investors. However, Milken not only paid back many investors, but has dedicated his post-prison life and his wealth to finding a cure for cancer and helping at-risk youth.
In other words, true repentance is accompanied by remorse – but either, alone, without the other does not lead to a godly result. True repentance is born of true love, which will change your desires in such a way that you will want to go out of your way to not hurt the object of your affection. This requires a changed mind!
There are many examples of remorse in scripture that did not lead to repentance.
Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, repented that he delivered an innocent man into the hands of evil, religious men but had no remorse.
Matthew 27:3-5 – 3 Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5 And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.
Indeed, there are examples of Scripture where it is said God, Himself, repented. Now it has to be clearly understood that God has no sin to confess!
Genesis 6:6 – And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
Amos 7:6 – The Lord repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord God.
Since Jesus is the express image of the Father (Hebrews 1:3) and it is incumbent upon us to be more like Him, and He does not (or cannot) confess sin, we don’t have to! This is a liberating moment if you’ve been caught up in the notion you must confess every sin in order to maintain your salvation! The notion that you must confess every sin is reeks of religion and is tainted with tradition.
There are some that teach that if you were to die instantly in a car crash in which you were going one MPH over the speed limit that you’re doomed to hell. Where is the grace in that? Besides, Jesus paid the sin-debt once and for all for us and, as long as we have accepted him as Lord and Savior and abide in Him, our salvation is secure!
Paul wrote, thusly, in his epistle to the Romans,
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
Indeed, Jeremiah tells us that God, Himself, will not remember our sins:
And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)
So, if God – who knows all – chooses to remember your sins no more, why would you remind him by confession?
The ability to repent is a reminder of God’s perfect love for and grace toward us. Led by the Holy Spirit, repentance is the means by which we rest in righteousness – that when sin raises its head, we are able to turn from it by the renewing of our mind. We do not have to confess anything to an omniscient God who has given us Jesus, who provided the remedy for sin.
There is precious little in the earth more powerful than a made-up mind. Even God said that when the people are of one mind, they can do anything (Genesis 11:6). Indeed when folks come together with a made-up mind, the truly extraordinary can happen (Acts 2:1-2). True repentance keeps our mind stayed on Jesus, focused on righteousness and not sin. True repentance allows you to make up your mind to turn from sin and be awakened to righteousness.
© 2013 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)